Data collection for forestry, timber, and agriculture currently relies on manual techniques which are labor-intensive and time-consuming. We seek to demonstrate that robotics offers improvements over these techniques and accelerate agricultural research, beginning with semantic segmentation and diameter estimation of trees in forests and orchards. We present TreeScope v1.0, the first robotics dataset for precision agriculture and forestry addressing the counting and mapping of trees in forestry and orchards. TreeScope provides LiDAR data from agricultural environments collected with robotics platforms, such as UAV and mobile robot platforms carried by vehicles and human operators. In the first release of this dataset, we provide ground-truth data with over 1,800 manually annotated semantic labels for tree stems and field-measured tree diameters. We share benchmark scripts for these tasks that researchers may use to evaluate the accuracy of their algorithms. Finally, we run our open-source diameter estimation and off-the-shelf semantic segmentation algorithms and share our baseline results.
* Submitted to 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and
Automation (ICRA 2024) for review
This paper addresses the problem of active collaborative localization in heterogeneous robot teams with unknown data association. It involves positioning a small number of identical unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) at desired positions so that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can, through unlabelled measurements of UGVs, uniquely determine its global pose. We model the problem as a sequential two player game, in which the first player positions the UGVs and the second identifies the two distinct hypothetical poses of the UAV at which the sets of measurements to the UGVs differ by as little as possible. We solve the underlying problem from the vantage point of the first player for a subclass of measurement models using a mixture of local optimization and exhaustive search procedures. Real-world experiments with a team of UAV and UGVs show that our method can achieve centimeter-level global localization accuracy. We also show that our method consistently outperforms random positioning of UGVs by a large margin, with as much as a 90% reduction in position and angular estimation error. Our method can tolerate a significant amount of random as well as non-stochastic measurement noise. This indicates its potential for reliable state estimation on board size, weight, and power (SWaP) constrained UAVs. This work enables robust localization in perceptually-challenged GPS-denied environments, thus paving the road for large-scale multi-robot navigation and mapping.
Traditional approaches for active mapping focus on building geometric maps. For most real-world applications, however, actionable information is related to semantically meaningful objects in the environment. We propose an approach to the active metric-semantic mapping problem that enables multiple heterogeneous robots to collaboratively build a map of the environment. The robots actively explore to minimize the uncertainties in both semantic (object classification) and geometric (object modeling) information. We represent the environment using informative but sparse object models, each consisting of a basic shape and a semantic class label, and characterize uncertainties empirically using a large amount of real-world data. Given a prior map, we use this model to select actions for each robot to minimize uncertainties. The performance of our algorithm is demonstrated through multi-robot experiments in diverse real-world environments. The proposed framework is applicable to a wide range of real-world problems, such as precision agriculture, infrastructure inspection, and asset mapping in factories. A demo video can be found at https://youtu.be/S86SgXi54oU.